The Inconvenience of Democracy… for the Elites

 

As the primary phase of choosing the next occupant for the White House trundles on, it should be obvious to us all that there is a serious, existential threat that is laying waste to the cherished idea that the United States is a paragon of rules, fair play and democracy. Stories of rampant voter suppression, disenfranchisement, media gaslighting, electoral fraud and a destructive, regressive political discourse has made it very clear that it is impossible for America to be a functioning democracy within a capitalistic economic system. Politicians no longer serve the people they “represent,” and both parties have been corrupted and compromised by the dirty, filthy money that allows them to remain protected, seemingly forever, within their cocoon of legalized graft. It has taken a quixotic Presidential run by Bernie Sanders to drop the scales from our eyes, and at last, people are beginning, at their level of understanding, to realize that it just might not be possible to have both a functioning democracy and a just economic capitalist system at the same time, without serious re-examination and reconsideration of what kind of social contract we as a nation are prepared to accept to live under.

Obviously, this realization can only lead to a single conclusion:  which should prove that capitalism is in essence, anti-democratic.

Team Democrat and Team Republican may have slightly differing ideologies, and really, these are merely comforting, self-serving myths that allow the gaslighting to have legs – until this election season when the bottom of the pail has fallen out of too many people’s lives, but the parties are united under one overarching principle: gathering and extracting more and more money from the taxpayer and giving it to the elites, the banks and stateless corporations who in turn are quietly planning God-knows-what for the hapless dupes who still believe that the problems in their lives stem from undocumented aliens, liberals and conservatives. These elites benefit from the division the media generates while ignoring the shameless corporate welfare which their lobbyists have managed to write into laws, and are ultimately planning to gift the corporations sovereignty over governments themselves with the TPP.

That President Obama is aiding and abetting this “trade deal” as a good thing for America, should be evidence enough on how easily one can be corrupted by power so completely, that all common decency and common sense evaporates, along with any moral barometer that should awaken and alert one’s conscience that something has gone terribly wrong with one’s judgment and ethics. But we’re talking about beings who clearly operate under another criteria of “ethics.” One, apparently, that doesn’t include  a consideration for what is best for everyone, but only considers those who are sitting the the seats of great wealth, power and influence.

Which brings us back to this point: capitalism has proven to be the most anti-democratic force in the world, if not in America, where it seems that every day, new and surprising ways are being invented to make voting as difficult and unpleasant as possible. This is hardly surprising, although I suspect the blatant rigged gaming of the fraudulent electoral process may have come as a dreadful shock to most who believed in the “rule of law,” and that they truly lived in “the land of the free,” but the fact of the matter is that an open, citizen-led democratic process can be very bad for “business.” The movement inspired by Bernie Sanders has awakened to this awful realization, and the anti-democratic forces; the media-industrial complex, the stateless corporations, Wall Street, the billionaire class and the establishment politicians that loyally serve them will be doing everything they can to make sure the movement – and by extension, the expression of democracy – is quashed.

Therefore, be prepared to witness a titanic barrage of forces to be unleashed to nullify, marginalize and stifle this natural, suppressed expression of democratic values where one person – one vote still has meaning and value. It will be a massive effort for the grassroots activists to overcome this inevitable onslaught, but the future is not yet written, although it appears more and more likely that the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this summer is going to make Chicago ’68 seem like a Methodist bakery sale in comparison. The genie has been let out of the bottle, and with it, the elites’ stranglehold on democracy is in peril.

 

 

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Bernie Sanders reveals the Mockery of Democracy

 

ROCHESTER, MN- FEBRUARY 27: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to a crowd of supporters at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN. Sanders is projected to come in second to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the evenings South Carolina primary election. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Emma Goldman said it best. “If they thought voting could change anything, they would have made it illegal.” After witnessing what can only be described as an unmitigated disaster and shamelessly open mockery of democracy within the Democratic Party’s treatment of its base, Independents and in particular, Bernie Sanders, Red Emma’s point is an understatement. And while I think Bernie Sanders makes Don Quixote out to be a hardened realist, he has provided the citizens of America a unparalleled service of awakening and alarming thinking American Citizens that the sacred model of American Democracy is nothing but a House of Cards.

Never before has the ideals of American democracy been so openly laid bare as a cruel joke and an unfortunate illusion. It appears, in spite of all the high school civics lessons and storybook notions about the Great American Democracy, that no such democracy has ever existed in this country. It has all been a lie. Taxpaying American Citizens have been gaslighted, catfished and hypnotized by lies, deceptions and double talk by its statesmen, media and special interests, through the machinations of a fascist two-party system that is essentially a one party system dedicated to the benefit of the elites who believe they control and own this country. Simply put, if you believe that your vote is dependent upon your status as a taxpaying American Citizen, well, you’re dead wrong. Apparently, your voting status is wholly dependent on an either-or party affiliation. If you are not aligned to a party, your right to vote doesn’t exist. And you can look high and low for the cite in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution as much as you like, but you won’t find anywhere where it is laid out that your right to vote is entirely dependent on which political party one you are aligned to. So what happened to my franchise?

Apparently, somewhere, somehow, we have accepted and allowed two political parties to exercise and completely control who gets to play God in the Capitol and state legislators. We alway hear about how terrible the historically low voter turnout in America has been for ages. Well, it turns out that the system has been specifically set up to disenfranchise voting rights to make sure that voting never becomes a “thing” in America, because it is the one avenue of influence that is left to the common American Citizen. It is the last level of power left to the citizenry. And so that dangerous power has to be bottled up by the elites, thwarted and frustratingly difficult to break through to the point where it most people don’t want to be bothered with it. And that is the way the elites want it. It keeps them in control, in power and keeps real change agents discouraged and powerless. If you turn on talk radio, you’d think that the problems facing America all comes from the left or the right… when in fact it’s only because of one simple truth, our vaunted version of “democracy” which we love to trumpet to the rest of the world its wondrous and exceptional quality, has been nothing but a lie.

To those who claim that the Primary system isn’t “voting,” I say this: As a taxpaying American Citizen, I reject the notion of being channeled into a situation where my franchise is dependent on the principle of party over person. This primary system only exists to help the parties and allows them to maintain control – even Wasserman-Schultz admitted as much. It is wrong, slimy and undemocratic – my vote is not dependent on party. It’s dependent on my status as an American Taxpayer. We are going to work together to overturn this legalized voter suppression scheme that only benefits the two-party democratic fascist construct. Democracy to this point in American History has been based on deception, and we are beginning to wake up and see how limitless the parties have exercised their control over the American People. Bernie Sanders has done the America People a solid. He is the only candidate this blogger is interested in seeing elected to the Presidency.

TILL HERE, NO FURTHER.

#BernieorBust

Law of Attraction, Part 7: Eastern Origins

indiaharappagateway

In the previous blogs about the history of the Law of Attraction, we briefly looked at the Law of Attraction’s ancient connection with the major religions in the world. In this series we will expand and deepen our investigation into the secret history of the Law of Attraction as it applies to the great religious systems in the world. It isn’t common knowledge, but many of the most important aspects of the Law of Attraction derive from Hinduism, thus a brief survey of Hinduism seems to be in order. In this blog series we will shift venues and look at the Law of Attraction’s role within the development of the oldest living religion in the world today: Hinduism.

 

Hindu Origins: Vedic Civilization And Religion

 

Undertaking the daunting task of breaking down a religion as enormous as Hinduism gives one pause, because Hinduism goes so far beyond your typical Westerner’s basic understanding of religion. It is difficult to grasp all at once. A shallow treatment of this system will not yield anything more than shallow realizations, and delving in too deeply creates the danger of getting lost within an ocean of details and losing the narratives. We will deal with this by handling the material historically and thematically, and those who wish to study further will have the appropriate vocabulary to begin.

Hinduism is the world’s oldest existing organized religion, with an estimated billion followers, making it the world’s third largest religion, and within it containing a rich variety of religious beliefs, rites, customs, and practices. Hinduism is unique among the major religions because it claims no historical founder like Buddha, Mohammed, Moses or Jesus were for their respective religions. Hinduism is a belief system based entirely on the tales of mythic Gods, heroes, demons, magic, morality, karma and sacrifice.

The word ‘Hindu‘ is English, and named after the advanced urban centers located along the Indus River Valley. Harappa and Mohenjodero (located in modern-day Pakistan) were two ancient cities built around 3500 BCE that evolved and flourished as dynamic urban centers from around 2600 to 1700 BCE.

Hundreds of sites have been excavated in Punjab and Rajasthan along the dried-up Sarasvati River, mentioned in the Rig Veda, which places its beginning of the Indus River Valley Culture between the Sarasvarti and the Drishadvati rivers. From here, we will use Dr. David Frawley’s suggestion on referring to this as the “Indus-Sarasvati civilization” which appears to be the birthplace of Indian culture.

The Indus-Sarasvati civilization is an enigma. These urban centers were the largest and the most sophisticated in the world at that time (approximately 26 centuries before the Common Era), including Egypt and Sumer, and yet, at some unknown time, they were mysteriously abandoned. The Harappan cities were community-minded, featuring planned streets, public baths, sewage draining and granaries. They used bronze and stone tools. And it seems these people believed in an afterlife. Graves have been discovered and fire altars have been excavated. This culture worshipped the forces of nature, animals, the phallus and an all-powerful Goddess. Seals have been discovered featuring designs of figures seated in the yoga position. Human sacrifice was ritualized; the flesh and blood placed in the fields to refresh them. Numerous seals have also been found indicating that commercial activities took place. Scholars do not know why the Harappan cities were abandoned. Perhaps climate change or some sort of economic or agricultural calamity made living in the cities impossible.

 

The Aryan Controversy

It has long been assumed that Hinduism descended from the legendary Aryans, the alleged creators of the Vedic civilization and religion. The Vedic civilization is named after the Vedas; the 4 sacred books of hymns, mantras and spiritual teachings of Hinduism that was handed down by the Aryans – or, the “Aryas” according to the Rig Veda. The Vedas, which were orally transmitted for centuries by the priests and later written down in early Sanskrit, contain hymns, philosophy, and instructions on ritual for the priests.

And here hangs the tale of the controversy in discussing the murky history of India – the subject of much academic speculation and political disputation. The biggest bone of contention within this scholarly debate centers on the so-called “Aryan Invasion Theory” that postulates a large group of roving ‘Aryans‘ descending from the east, invading the Indian continent, displacing and conquering the indigenous Dravidians and other tribes on their way towards establishing the Vedic Civilization.

Critics have attacked the Aryan Invasion Theory on grounds that the Vedic records themselves do not contain any reference of an “Aryan Invasion.” They say that the Aryan Invasion Theory was only put forward by Eurocentric scholars, built upon literary, linguistic and religious assumptions that were used by the West in service of British Colonialism in India. Critics also point out that is no evidence that the Aryans lived at any time outside of India.

According to “Frawley’s Paradox,” on one hand, the Indus-Sarasvati culture left behind the greatest, sophisticated urban civilization in the world at that time, and strangely yet, left no written records. And on the other hand, we have the theoretical Aryans, thought to be illiterate, militant, domineering chariot-jockeys and destroyers of cities, leaving no archeological trace except one of the world’s greatest literature in the Vedas.

Frawley’s solution to the paradox suggests that the Vedic and the Indus-Sarasvati cultures are, in all likelihood, one and the same.

 

The Vedic Religion

The Vedas are the sacred collection of hymns and mantras of the Hindu religion, and are considered to have been revealed by the gods themselves and given to human beings. The dating of the Vedas is hard to determine, as they were assembled over a long period of time, orally transmitted for centuries before being written in Sanskrit some 3,500 years ago, making the Vedas the oldest religious text still used in the world today. The Vedic religious forms have had an enormous influence over Hinduism.

The original Vedic gods seemed to be all males; Indra, the Warrior-King of Heaven, drew the most attention in the Vedas. Varuna, the sky god held the universe together as the cosmic law of existence, punishing those who transgressed the moral order he laid down and rewarding those who kept his law. Agni was the fire god and acceptor of sacrifices. Vishnu was the sun god who strode the universe in three steps.

The Vedic culture’s religious needs were serviced by a hereditary priesthood called the Brahmin. For centuries the Vedic Brahmin priests committed the Vedas to memory and chanted mantras and officiated over the sacrifices and fire rituals. The Brahmins’ sacrificial rites were very important to the Vedic culture. The rising smoke from the flames was carried up to Heaven by the fire god Agni, who transmuted the flames into nourishment for the gods.

 

Next: More on the Vedic Religion

 

Sources:

The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, by Elena Efimovna Kuzʹmina, J. P. Mallory, Brill, 2008

Handbook for the Study of Eastern Literatures, Ancient India, by Dr. Robert Churchill, Creighton University

An Introduction to Hinduism by Gavin D. Flood, Cambridge University Press, 1996

Looking for the Aryans by Ram Sharan Sharma, Orient Blackswan, 1995

A Social history of India by S. N. Sadasivan, 2000

The Myth of Aryan Invasion of India, by Dr. David Frawley, American Institute of Vedic Studies

 

 

 

 

Fear of Equality, Part 12: The Swindle of Fulfillment

Henry A. Giroux on Zombie Politics, November 22, 2013

A Dangerous Idea: Economic Determinism

The American Dream. Perhaps best exemplified within the immortal trope of, “all men are created equal and that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” The Classical Liberal conceits of freedom, liberty, equality and opportunity have been erected, transmitted and successfully absorbed into the mass consciousness of Americans for centuries now, and even though upward social mobility has never been more impossible to attain than it is currently, many Americans still hold on to this patriotic and sentimental idea –  even in the face of an undeniable economic determinism that dictates every facet of a person’s life.

What do I mean by, “economic determinism?” Well, economic determinism is the doctrine that states all cultural, social, political and intellectual activities are a product of economic organization of society. Originally, the term was coined by Karl Marx (1818-1893) to describe what he saw as a process of social phenomena having its roots within the relations of production.

In the social production which men carry on, they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society–the real foundation, on which rise legal and political superstructures and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness.

            A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (Kerr, 1904), Preface, pp. 11-12.

The elephant in the room is this clause;

they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will;

The relations of production can easily be understood as the relationships of the platform of capital that connects with all the various segments of society. Marx attempted to explain capitalism as he understood it – as the systems of relationships with the members of society. However, many of Marx’s contemporaries sneered at the theory of economic determinism, thinking it as a clumsy, intellectually suspect social model. Marx and Engels were seemingly embarrassed and frustrated by the acceptance of the theory by certain Marxist factions, although Engels conceded there was a place for discussing the concept more in – depth that had been possible. [1]

The critical theorist brain trust (Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and many others) was set up in Germany during the 1920s as a Marxist research institute to study and examination of various social issues from a Marxist perspective, also rejected ED as too plain and vulgar an explanation of the increasingly unfolding complexity of the relationships with the various systems at play in society. 

The mind loves complexity, you see. That’s why we have lawyers. But don’t follow the diversion.

I have a sneaking suspicion that when such a concept like economic determinism is laid so plainly, so bare, there is a visceral, instinctive, reactive desire to enter a state of cognitive dissonance. To deny the truth. To hold on what one believed in the face of overwhelming evidence that such beliefs no longer serve their purpose. That may explain an element of the resistance shown by the intelligentsia to give the concept of economic determinism full consideration. However, as a workable social theory economic determinism may have been resisted because of its loaded potential as a dangerous idea.

Perhaps the most dangerous point within the theory of economic determinism is that it leaves no room for the operation of Free Will, one of the most cherished of all Classical Liberal ideals. It is believed that all are born with Free Will, but in the real word, only a few possess enough wealth to afford to use it. If Free Will can be invalidated by economic determinism, Capitalism loses its greatest theoretical weapon in justifying the ethic of enlightened Individual self-interest. Such an idea may lead to questioning the fundamental point of why such a system where one has to pay others money for the right (or is it privilege?) to survive, is preferable to any other system that isn’t based on competition and power over others. Maybe questioning the system could lead to considering another system where the answer presented is yet another dangerous idea, and one just as simple.

That answer exists on the other side of fear, that answer is as simple as the question. The answer is economic equality. Only the lack of collective will make it such a seemingly impossible feat to attain.

But what about issues of culture, the markets, the ecology, politics, psychology, economic hegemony and ownership of resources? Surely all these factors can’t be reduced to a simple explanation that all relationships in capitalism is based on the social platform of consumers and consumption? Economic determinism still is a useful tool in explaining to others the Matrix – like, camouflaged system of enslavement and exploitation that people have accepted as “the norm.” And not only as the norm, but a normalcy that one feels an explicable loyalty towards an abusive, economic authoritarian system.

Professor Henry A. Giroux calls this phenomena, “the swindle of fulfillment,” So what is the swindle? That society has been given a set of quaint, romantic values to identify itself with as the overarching self – definition its members must embody and transmit to all others, which is the principal role of the individual to exists as consumer and the commoditized. All relationships are based on one aspect: one’s relationship and access to money. The social elite has successfully hijacked and redefined these terms, and has employed them to further entrench and consolidate its power over all others, and in doing so, robbed democracy, liberty and freedom of their meanings and replaced it with fraudulent and abusive, pathological ideals, all the while overseeing the erosion of expectations, common sense and the obliteration of the social safety net in order to hand that common institution over to the privateers.

The Tyranny of an Idea: The Validity of the Middle Class

In an earlier blog I noted Kenneth Rexroth’s observation for the necessity of a nationalist “social lie” that advances the vested interests of the elites at the cost of everyone else. If, as a nation, people start questioning the lie, then perhaps the truth may emerge and make itself known. However, the ruling elites have done their job of social conditioning so extremely well, it is all too easy to understand how they have been able to deploy their ideological weaponry to convince an economically vulnerable and gullible public to not only vote against their chief public interests, but to support such measures out of a theological – like commitment to self-defeating ideologies, values, beliefs religious and political principles that are managed, manipulated and controlled through patriotic or religious sentimentality and cultural media conditioning.

In order for such a morally and ethically twisted system to retain its validity among the members of society, the ideology must be successfully sold to the populace. Part of that conditioning is generally accepted understanding by everyone that each one of us occupies a specific placement within this system, or Heaven help you, outside of it (And woe to those who are outside the system or fails to wear the signature of the Beast. Weeping and gnashing of teeth awaits).

One of the most successful of these ideologies that has benefited the social elites is the myth of the existence, sanctity and value of the American Middle Class, which exists as a metaphysically charged utopia within the minds of those who identify with its values, achievements and aspirations. As Howard Zinn points out, the Middle Class exists as an economic buffer or wedge between the elites and the impoverished. It also serves as a sentimental cultural set piece for the members of society to identify with, aspire to and maintain its place with American society.

Of course, there are various layers within this mythic class structure.  Somewhere between what I call the “safe” Middle Class, or those that have a dependable, secure access to income – and the working poor who mainly consist of the service sector is the layer of those that may live in the same neighborhoods as the safe Middle Class, but are desperately treading water. The anxiety of the Middle Class is broadcasted daily in the media with endless stories projecting the fears and doubts about its “shrinking.” This fear is massaged, nourished and broadcasted via the media to keep the populace anxious, for it is a well – known principle in advertising to “turn up the pain” to get the required response from those who are being sold. All advertising aims at maximizing discontent and demoralizing the individual/consumer with visions of social conflict amid reduced expectations and fear of losing out.

How skillful to tax the middle class to pay for the relief of the poor, building resentment on top of humiliation! How adroit to bus poor black youngsters into poor white neighborhoods, in a violent exchange of impoverished schools, while the schools of the rich remain untouched and the wealth of the nation, doled out carefully where children need free milk, is drained for billion-dollar aircraft carriers. How ingenious to meet the demands of blacks and women for equality by giving them small special benefits, and setting them in competition with everyone else for jobs made scares by an irrational, wasteful system. How wise to turn the fear and anger of the majority toward a class of criminals bred – by economic inequity – faster than they can be put away, deflecting attention from the huge thefts of national resources carried out within the law by men in executive offices.”

― Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present

Isn’t it funny how the politicians always talk about how great the middle class is, and yet the Middle Class is understood by everyone in America to be an endangered species? Isn’t it hilarious that the politicians sell so skillfully the bit about how ardent they are in pursuing the “national interests” as if all American Citizens held the same value as those who sit in the seats of real power in this country? Obviously, the anxiety that is palpable within the Middle Class exists as an unspoken, existential fear that as a group, there is no access or influence it can muster against those sitting in the seats of power. There can only be a grudging, resentful hope that the Middle Class won’t be sacrificed upon the crucible of neoliberal agenda. For the Middle Class there can only be the unrelenting churn of helplessness as they are chained to the deck chairs of a slowly sinking economic state of affairs.

It will never occur to them, until they are in danger of losing everything, to ask why should there even BE a “Middle Class,” never mind whether it should be something worth aspiring to or keep it around while ignoring its own certain and approaching death as it encounters the mother of all economic icebergs. It will never occur to them that the illusion of attaining the American Dream keeps the social and economic injustices firmly in place. As the neoliberal agenda marches onwards to total economic domination over every aspect of life, fear of equality will continued to milked for all its worth by the masters of deception and given to masses to drink, enabling the terrible truth to continue to be hidden in plain sight.

It is a fact that the current economic system in America is causing a growing crisis in democracy. As the Middle Class evaporates into the steam of cultural amnesia, so follows democracy, or what passes for democracy, with it. In its place awaits total economic domination of the neoliberal program. It doesn’t take much to overcome the fear of equality. It only takes the will to do so.

 

Fear of Equality, Part 13. Money and the Death of Democracy

 

NOTE

[1] “Marx and I are ourselves partly to blame for the fact that the younger people sometimes lay more stress on the economic side than is due to it. We had to theoretical the main principle vis-a-vis our adversaries, who denied it, and we had not always the time, the place or the opportunity to give their due to the other elements involved in the interaction. But when it came to presenting a section of history, that is, to making a practical application, it was a different matter and there no error was permissible. Unfortunately, however, it happens only too often that people think they have fully understood a new theory and can apply it without more ado from the moment they have assimilated its main principles, and even those not always correctly. And I cannot exempt many of the more recent “Marxists” from this reproach, for the most amazing rubbish has been produced in this quarter, too. (Engels) Letter to J. Bloch, 21 September 1890

 

A Demons of Folk Salute “BPTS”

bp small piv

Bernard Poolman was the most amazing person I’ve ever known and I dare say that the world has known. He was so steady and ready and forever moving towards realizing the potential in himself and in everyone I saw him come into contact with. I spent many, many nights talking with him and listening to him speak on matters big and small, and while I didn’t readily understand everything he shared with me, with the unfolding of time I’ve begun to notice realizations popping up inside my mind from past conversations I’ve had with the Big Man, as I called him.

I wanted to share what it was like speaking with Bernard and listening his booming voice as he spoke and reasoned with us on the farm. If it is allowed to cherish certain memories in life, then allow me to say that these moments sitting with Bernard as he puffed away on an ever-present cigarette, taking us all on a discursive journey in sound full of surprises, wonderment, troubling analysis and much laughter, as only Bernard could. So, this DOF tune is dedicated to those who have also had the pleasure of sitting with this unique and wonderful man who for me epitomized the full potential of being human in this crazy world. And it is dedicated to those who never have heard of him or may have propped him up in their minds as an enemy or villain. It doesn’t matter what one thinks of him, it only matters if you heard him. And verily I say to you, those who have ears should better use them!

 

“BPTS” The Demons of Folk (Featuring Bernard Poolman)